BAGHDAD- Iraq's cabinet today blamed Saudi Arabia for promoting "genocide" in Iraq by backing Sunni militants, in a statement which could exacerbate the sectarian polarization in the Middle East.

Iraq has been stunned by a sudden lightning advance by Sunni militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant who captured the main city in the north, Mosul, a week ago and have since marched on towards Baghdad.

"We hold them responsible for supporting these groups financially and morally, and for the outcome of that - which includes crimes that may qualify as genocide: the spilling of Iraqi blood, the destruction of Iraqi state institutions and historic and religious sites," the statement said.